NASCAR playoffs at New Hampshire picks, odds: Larson fastest in practice, Kyle Busch is on the pole
A playoff driver could join Martin Truex Jr. in the Round of 12 with a win on Sunday
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs continue on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with just two races to go in the Round of 16. Martin Truex Jr. has already locked in his spot for the Round of 12, taking the checkered flag at Chicagoland but who will be the next to join him?
Here are our picks for Sunday's ISM Connect 300 at The Magic Mile.
Winner: Kyle Larson
One thing we've learned from Larson this season is that if he has the speed, it doesn't matter if he's won at a track before. He earned first-time checkered flags at Fontana and Richmond in addition to sweeping the Michigan races, where of course he won his first career race last season. Larson finished second to Denny Hamlin here earlier in the year by just .509 seconds and is set to start the race this Sunday from the same position behind Kyle Busch. To put the icing on the cake, the No. 42 was fastest in both practices leading up to the race. Hedge your bets on Larson who is an 8-to-1 favorite to win this weekend according to VegasInsider.com.
Contenders: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick
We really wanted to add Ryan Blaney to this list given his fourth-place qualifying effort and top five run in practice but we're going with experience here. Busch snagged his eighth pole of the season and second straight in the playoffs and there is virtually no reason to bet against him other than penalties. Rowdy was in position to dominate the race last week after winning Stage 1, but suffered a costly penalty in Stage 2 for having a member of his pit crew jump over the wall too early. That put him a lap down and out of contention for the race. All that said, Busch has two career wins here and has showed us that he has the speed to win all week. As for Harvick, he won this race in the playoffs last year and lines up in the sixth position on Sunday. The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy was impressive in the playoff opener last week as well, finishing third overall and second in a stage won by Chase Elliott, who saw his finish become encumbered after an unapproved modification was discovered. Expect this former champion to compete again this weekend.
Wild Card: Kasey Kahne
It's been a crazy week for Kahne, who announced he'd be joining Leavine Family Racing next season to replace Michael McDowell in the No. 95 car. He is coming off a lackluster 21st-place finish at Chicagoland and is currently below the cut line for the Round of 12. That being said, he has a former champion as his crew chief now in Darian Grubb and it seems like they have something going. The No. 5 ran inside the top 10 in both practices and is set to start the race from the ninth position. Besides Grubb essentially auditioning for a crew chief role with a Hendrick car next season (Byron, Elliott likely candidates), Kahne does have some experience at New Hampshire on his own having won here in 2012. At 33-to-1, Kahne is worth a look this weekend.
Odds to win the 2017 ISM Connect 300 at NHMS
Betting odds for Sunday's race according to VegasInsider.com
- Martin Truex Jr. 7/2
- Kyle Busch 5/1
- Denny Hamlin 6/1
- Kyle Larson 8/1
- Jimmie Johnson 8/1
- Matt Kenseth 10/1
- Brad Keselowski 12/1
- Kevin Harvick 12/1
- Chase Elliott 16/1
- Joey Logano 20/1
- Jamie McMurray 25/1
- Ryan Blaney 25/1
- Kurt Busch 25/1
- Kasey Kahne 33/1
- Daniel Suarez 33/1
- Erik Jones 33/1
- Trevor Bayne 50/1
- Clint Bowyer 50/1
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 50/1
- Ryan Newman 50/1
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 50/1
- Austin Dillon 100/1
- Paul Menard 100/1
- David Ragan 100/1
- Aric Almirola 100/1
- AJ Allmendinger 125/1
- Chris Buescher 150/1
- Danica Patrick 250/1
ISM Connect 300 starting lineup
- Kyle Busch (two career wins at NHMS)
- Kyle Larson
- Denny Hamlin (three career wins at NHMS)
- Ryan Blaney
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kevin Harvick (two career wins at NHMS)
- Kurt Busch (three career wins at NHMS)
- Erik Jones
- Kasey Kahne (one career win at NHMS)
- Matt Kenseth (three career wins at NHMS)
- Jamie McMurray
- Jimmie Johnson (three career wins at NHMS)
- Brad Keselowski (one career win at NHMS)
- Chase Elliott
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Clint Bowyer (two career wins at NHMS)
- Austin Dillon
- Ryan Newman (three career wins at NHMS)
- Paul Menard
- AJ Allmendinger
- David Ragan
- Chris Buescher
- Trevor Bayne
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Daniel Suarez
- Matt DiBenedetto
- Danica Patrick
- Landon Cassill
- Aric Almirola
- Ty Dillon
- Michael McDowell
- Cole Whitt
- Corey LaJoie
- Gray Gaulding
- Reed Sorenson
- Brett Moffitt
- Jeffrey Earnhardt
- Cody Ware
- Joey Logano (two career wins at NHMS)
BOLD - indicates NASCAR playoff driver
2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs standings
Martin Truex Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
How to watch the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ISM Connect 300
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Date: Sunday, Sept. 24
Time: 2 p.m. ET
Length: 300 laps/317.4miles
Stage 1: Ends on lap 75
Stage 2: Ends on lap 150
Final stage: Scheduled for lap 300
Live stream: NBC Sports App, Twitter (Kurt Busch dashboard)
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